Porter Creek Trail in the Rain

Always err on the side of “Yes”. That’s what Patty said on the Porter Creek Trail.

Yesterday, I did just that as I led a Carolina Mountain Club hike on the Porter Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

CMC hikes are planned months in advance. I committed to this hike probably in September. But the forecast was not good; it called for 90% chance of rain. That is almost a certainty.

Should I cancel the hike? No. I had several inquiries, but would anyone show up? No point being a leader, unless you have followers? What if it rained all day?

My analysis was the following.

The morning temperature was about 55 degrees and promised to be over 60. This was a low-altitude hike, in the trees, so we were going to be under cover the whole time. The whole purpose of the hike was to see the famous flowers on the Porter Creek Trail. Just as important, two new hikers were trying out our club. I was not going to disappoint them. At the end, four other people showed up to hike and we were on our way.

We saw a boatload of flowers, including bloodroot, hepatica, fringed phacelia, halberd-leaved violets, purple and white violets and one lonely trout lily. Trillium leaves and buds covered the ground, though no petals yet.

And we weren’t the only group on the trail. A family was visiting from Chicago and by golly, they were going to hike. The father took the picture of us above.

We showed them the cemetery and historic cabin. They got to  sample our Smokies hospitality and were grateful.

We started the trail in the dry and admired all the artifacts and flowers while going up. By the time we got to the campground, it had started raining. We ate our lunches quickly and enjoyed the downhill in the mud.

Did we get wet? Of course, but so what!! We had erred on the side of “Yes”.


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